The other day I dropped my car off at the dealership to get some work done, and then caught a shuttle ride back to my house.
On the shuttle was a man who also had his car in for service. (I mean duh, it would seem weird if somebody just really enjoyed riding a shuttle). We got to chatting and it turns out that he is manages people who do the EXACT SAME THING I DO. We were joking about how our paths were so similar and I responded, “oh you studied Theology in college too?”
Sometimes words fly out of my mouth before I have a chance to rein them in.
Luckily he laughed (he comes from accounting if anybody is interested), and then asked me a quick question about what I thought the biggest challenge in my job was. I considered it briefly and then gave him my response, (to be found in a later post!) and it was beautiful and cogent and succinct.
Then he asked if I wanted a job.
Just like that.
I tend to be on the receiving end of this phenomenon quite a bit, so I have a hard time distinguishing between it being me in general or something else. This magic has started happening more and more frequently though since I joined the tech sphere. Which leads me to something that might be a benefit to being a woman in tech.
There isn’t much diversity, so everybody wants to hire you. This is such a big issue (as emphasized this year by numerous articles posted about it), there are entire websites dedicated to it, like hiremorewomenintech.com.
Before everybody gets up in arms about how women are getting jobs unfairly, and comparing it to the manifesto that was posted earlier this month by the Google guy, I don’t believe that women are getting jobs that men ‘deserve’. Women deserve the jobs they get, and they work hard for them.
You clearly have to be competent, or you wouldn’t be worth hiring. But all things being equal, a woman has a better chance landing a tech job than a similarly qualified man (Women Favored for Jobs in STEM). As mentioned last week, studies have shown that increasing diversity in teams also increases their productivity and puts out a better product.
So there are obviously pros to a team in general if you can increase diversity, one reason why companies may hire a woman who has the exact same technical qualifications and skills as a man. Does this count as bias in the hiring – maybe on the positive side?
Considering all the studies that have come out for the corollary position, such as Gender Bias Extraordinarily Prevalent in STEM Careers, Science faculty’s subtle gender biases favor male students, it might actually just be something that helps level the playing field?
Almost every hiring decision is made with some component of personal bias to it. Because let’s be honest, it’s almost always there. Sometimes these reasons are more justified than others. For example, maybe the hire was recommended by an internal person. Perhaps the person being interviewed has the same alma mater. There have been studies showing that it’s nearly impossible to separate ourselves from our biases (cf. Unconscious Biases in Hiring Decisions 2015). Job decisions are not made in a vacuum, and hiring a woman over a man is more a conscious decision in many cases than an unconscious one.
I know this post will probably anger some people – but it’s true. I think being a woman and being in tech can often be an advantage to getting jobs. Which, considering some of the negative aspects about being a woman in tech, is a positive that I will take.
One last note – let’s be clear.
I’m good at what I do, and I don’t ever try to get a job based on my gender. That would be impossible anyway – a job that doesn’t hire based on skill. But it does sometime help open the door for me.
So let’s live up to the women in tech that we are, and take advantage of every opportunity that we’re given a head start to. Because let’s be honest, everybody else would take advantage of it also.comments powered by Disqus